The Raiders are coming off of their third straight win, including two wins over divisional opponents. This team is looking exceptional and has been on a roll advancing to above .500 for the first time in years.
Hopes haven't been this high for Raider Nation, this late in the season, since 2002.
But let's face it, this team is battered and weakened. They've paid a hefty price to get those five victories and it shows in the team's numerous injuries.
Right now the Raiders need a bye week more than anything, and luckily that is just what they're getting.
If the Raiders had a game this week their injury report would read:
Nnamdi Asomugha: doubtful, ankle
Hiram Eugene: questionable, pectoral
Bruce Gradkowski: questionable, right shoulder
John Henderson: out, foot
Darius Heyward-Bey: probable, shoulder
Zach Miller: doubtful, foot
Louis Murphy: questionable, chest
Samson Satele: probable, knee
Chaz Schilens: out, knee
Rolando McClain: probable, hip
Tyvon Branch: probable, concussion
That's 11 potential starters that are banged up for the Raiders and could possibly miss the game if the Raiders had a game this week, but luckily they don't.
The Raiders face the Steelers in Pittsburgh next week. Before the game they get two weeks of rest to game-plan and most importantly mend their injuries.
When the Raiders play the Steelers they will have almost a clean bill of health. The only blemish will be Chaz Schilens who is expected to make his return Week 12 vs. the Miami Dolphins. Just in time for the Raider push into the playoffs.
One scary thought, for our opponents at least, is the fact that this team has won the last three games without many of the star players listed above. Just think about how much more dangerous a healthy full-strength Raider team could be...
Starting QB Jason Campbell will have more reliable targets with Zach Miller and Louis Murphy back in the mix. Arguably these are his best two receivers. And with the emergence of rookie receiver Jacoby Ford added into the mix the Raiders pass-catchers become formidable to even the best pass defense.
Also the depth and strength of the defense will be at full power.
With big John Henderson's return the rotation of the interior D-line will be dominant.
When Hiram Eugene and Nnamdi Asomugha return, the defensive backfield that boasts the third-ranked passing defense will once again be at full speed.
The way this defense has been playing they will be a handful at full speed and full strength.
And it's not just the players who are at full strength. Raider Nation is back as well. After 11 straight home game blackouts the Raiders have sold out the Coliseum. Expect this trend to continue as once again home-field advantage will mean something in Oakland.
Look out NFL—you are yet to see the best of the Raiders this year.
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